• Michael Morris


    Michael Morris (1942-2022) was a painter, photographer, video and performance artist and curator. His work is often media based and collaborative, involved with developing networks and in the production and presentation of new art activity. In his roles as curator and, primarily, as an artist, Morris was a key figure of the West Coast art scene during the 1960s. Morris studied at the University of Victoria and then at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University), followed by graduate studies at Slade School of Fine Art at the University College London, during the 1960s. There he became interested in the work of Fluxus and the European avant-garde, which had a profound influence on his work and on the Vancouver experimental art scene in general. In 1969 he founded Image Bank with Vincent Trasov, a system of postal correspondence between participating artists for the exchange of information and ideas. The intention of Image Bank was to create a collaborative, process-based project in the hopes of engendering a shared creative consciousness—in opposition to the alienation endemic to modern capitalist society—through the deconstruction and recombination of its ideological forms. Morris was acting curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University and has had many guest curatorships at other institutions. In 1973, he co-founded the Western Front—one of Canada’s first artist-run centres—and served as co-director for seven years. In 1990 he and Trasov founded the Morris/Trasov Archive, housed at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, to research contemporary art. He has established a strong international reputation and worked for many years in Berlin. Morris has participated in artist-in-residence programs both in Canada at the Banff Centre (1990) and at Open Studio (2003) and internationally at Berlin Kustlerprogramm (1981-1998). Morris has had numerous solo and collaborative exhibitions nationally and internationally, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Arts, the 2011 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and an Honorary Doctorate in 2005 by Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

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